Sexy is cool, Bipasha Basu tells Harshikaa Udasi as her film Aa Dekhen Zara hits the screens today
There is an unreal element in the film because of the camera but there are no gimmicks
She set her sights on becoming a doctor, but turned out to be a model instead, who veered towards acting in films. Bollywood labelled her as nothing more than a sexy model with a minimum shelf life, but she has completed 50-odd films in the last eight years. The rumour mill had it that she and John wouldn’t last, and it almost seemed true when the relationship tottered a couple of years ago, but the pair appear happy together. That’s life for Bipasha Basu, who never takes the expected route. And she seems thrilled about it.
“Even in films, my beginning was quite different from that of others. I was called unconventional and ‘sexy’, and that wasn’t too great because‘sexy’ wasn’t really cool back then. Things changed and now everyone — men and women — would love to be called sexy,” says the actress.
For an actress, Bipasha is certain about what she wants to do and what to avoid. “I was warned not to take up Jism but I thought it was a rather unusual and powerful role that wouldn’t come my way again. I knew it was meant for mature sensibilities.”
After a failed attempt to de-glam herself in Prakash Jha’s Apharan, Bipasha learnt quickly that it really didn’t make sense to downplay her image. So she made it her signature, ‘inspiring’ a dozen other actresses to go down the same route. Ajnabee, Raaz, Jism, No Entry, Corporate, Omkara, Dhoom 2, Goal, Race, Bachna Ae Haseeno… each of these films exploited her sexy image but without making her roles repetitive. “I think what helped me was I was adaptable,” she says.
Aa Dekhen Zara, her film with Neil Nitin Mukesh, directed by first-timer Jehangir Surti releases today. A sci-fi thriller about a camera that can look into the future, the film has Neil playing a photographer (Ray) and Bipasha a DJ (Simi). So does she play a negative role in this film as well, like most of the thrillers she has acted in? Laughing, she says, “There is an unreal element in the film because of the camera but there are no gimmicks.”
What about her casually flinging Neil from the terrace as can be seen in the promos? Heaving a mock sigh, she says, “I tipped Saif off the balcony in Race and the film was a hit. Now I have done the same to Neil. If this film succeeds, I have serious concerns that producers will coerce me to push off every hero in my forthcoming films!”
Black nail polish, a chest tattoo, indigo coloured hair, Reebok trainers and cargos, and bizarre trinkets mark her character. “When Jehangir told me I was to play a DJ, the first thing that came to my mind was to style the character on my sister, Vijayta, who is into rock music. She never wears colour coordinated stuff, likes black nail polish and sports a tattoo. Simi is modern, firm and forthright. I wanted to make the character look trendy rather than sexy,” she says.
Being a model helps in styling for the film, she adds. For Aa Dekhen Zara, Bipasha personally picked up clothes with her stylist from London. “There was a time when styling in Bollywood used to be very filmi. Now fashion designers have come into the picture. Also a lot of models have turned into actors and are having their say in what will look good on them. I personally take care I don’t stick to silhouettes that I know will look fab on me. The point is to change your look with your character and give the audiences something new every time.”
But she’s not too keen on doing stunts on her own, right now. “I trust the stunt directors and personnel but still there is a part of me that’s very apprehensive about our security mechanisms. I think it was very brave of Neil to be allowed to be thrown off the nine-storeyed building. I am just doing the usual running and jumping in the film,” she says, sounding glad for it.
She begins shooting for Ajay Devgan’s comic film All The Best with Ajay, Fardeen and Sanjay Dutt in mid-April. She is also awaiting the release of Lamha by Rahul Dholakia, where she plays a Kashmiri girl. Besides she plays the alter ego of the protagonist in Pankh, a real-life story about a girl who has spent her childhood as a child artist, posing as a boy under her parents’ compulsion. But Bipasha is upset that Abbas-Mustan’s Mr Fraud shows no signs of reviving. “You have to find out about it from the producers, but personally I think it can still work out.” Filming on the Ajay Devgan-Sanjay Dutt-Bipasha starrer commenced even before Race and it faced several problems due to Sanjay Dutt’s court case.
Bipasha has reportedly signed on the dotted line for a Hollywood project with Billy Zane but says she’d rather talk about it when things are confirmed.